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OIC Sec Gen calls for robust Islamic media

Apr 30, 2015, 9:54 AM

The secretary general of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Mr Iyad Ameen Madani, has said that the Muslim world is in need of “effective media organs as well as current and influential cultural expression”.

Mr Madani said this at the opening of the tenth session of the OIC Committee on Information and Cultural Affairs (Comiac) attended by ministers and organisations from OIC member countries in Dakar, Senegal on Tuesday.

He said the Muslim world faces threats, some of which are external such as the pervasiveness of Islamophobia and focus of external media on violence in the Muslim world.“The internal threats include Daesh (ISIS/ISIL), Boko Haram and Al Qaida movements. These threats require a tool and a platform to combat them and Comiac should constitute such a platform,” Mr Madani said.

He exhorted that the resolutions adopted by the meeting should be translated into concrete actions to effectively counter the danger of Islamophobia and sectarian fighting within the Muslim world. He reviewed a number of the resolutions to be discussed by the session, notably the question of Palestine. The secretary general renewed the call for support for the people of Al Quds and for the steadfastness in confronting the Israeli occupation by visiting the Al Aqsa Mosque. In this regard, he announced that the OIC was in the process of establishing an OIC office in Ramallah.

In his statement, the President of Senegal, Mack Sall, said the Muslim ummah is going through turbulence orchestrated by “a small group” in the name of Islam. He said the Comiac meeting will help to highlight the role of youths as the hope and promising future of the ummah. He said the youths should be given the opportunity to prove their positive and constructive role for their society and the ummah. He called for a coalition of youths to spread the culture of peace and participate in projecting the true image of Islam.

President Sall cited examples from the annals of Islamic civilisation in the areas of cultural and academic exchange and said these cultural and scientific resources should receive the media attention they deserve. He also recalled a bright side of the contemporary situation of the ummah which is signified by the UAE’s hosting of Expo 2020 and Qatar’s hosting of the 2022 World Cup.

During the meeting, representatives of member countries including The Gambia, delivered statements expressing serious concerns about the growth of Islamophobia through violent attacks on Islam and its symbols. The speakers affirmed the need to utilise ideas, evidence and logic to counter opposing views and the need to engage in dialogue with the Western world to project Islam as a religion of tolerance and moderation. The speakers highlighted the importance of focusing on the positive aspects of the Islamic heritage and radiant image of Islamic civilisation in its various epochs by using innovative and modern information media. The meeting expressed its support for the project to launch an OIC TV channel on the Internet.

The Gambia backed a Saudi resolution calling for backing of the UN Security Council Resolution 2216 demanding the Houthi militias to withdraw from all cities and provinces and rebelling against legitimate authority.

At the end of the general discussions the committee adopted the resolutions and highlighted the need to promote joint Islamic action in the information and cultural domain as strategic, identity defining fields which defend the causes of the ummah.

The Gambian delegation including Information and Culture ministers, Sheriff Bojang and Benjamin Roberts, were granted a private audience by Secretary General Madani.

The Gambian delegation extended the felicitations of His Excellency, Sheikh, Professor, Alhaji Dr Yahya AJJ Jammeh and reiterated The Gambia’s commitment and support to the OIC.

The Comiac meeting was closed by the Senegalese Information and Culture minister Mbagnick Ndiaye after adoption of ‘The Dakar Declaration’.